Net Neutrality, what is it, and what does it mean?
Dictionary.com defines net Neutrality as "the concept that broadband internet service providers should provide nondiscriminatory access to internet content, platforms, etc., and should not manipulate the transfer of data regardless of its source or destination."
The conversation over net neutrality consists of internet providers wanting to limit, control, and charge extra to internet users. They want to prioritize their brand and associated companies and believe they have the right to do so. The Wired provides the best example to help break it down. Comcast or Verizon may want to slow down the use of Netflix to encourage you to purchase a cable package with your company. This can also encourage large corporations to become financially involved with these internet providers to push their content further and make it more accessible than others. Personally, I would be really annoyed if one of the streaming services I was already pouring money into monthly all of a sudden was limited, blocked, or slowed down because the corporation wanted to push its service. Unfortunately, we've seen this with many cases where "money speaks louder than words."
According to Britannica, the internet is a "system architecture that has revolutionized communications and methods of commerce by allowing various computer networks around the world to interconnect."
The internet is full of helpful information we use constantly. It has become the hub for learning, entertainment, connection, and much more. In the past two years, we have depended more on the internet than ever. Unfortunately, allowing corporations to control the internet means we may fall prey to a company's hidden agenda. I think about the times I have heard about world events through people living them and sharing them on Twitter. Limiting access to this information will narrow our worldview and make us more susceptible to misinformation.
I believe Net Neutrality will positively impact our relationship with the internet. It is our right to have access to the internet. Controlling what we view or have access to when it comes to information will hinder our critical thinking ability. NAMLE states that access is the first aspect of media literacy. Access supports our freedom as individuals to consume information without censorship and draw conclusions. This isn't possible if net neutrality is not supported.
Along with this simply being a human right, we must understand that allowing our internet provider to control our access will continue to hinder minority groups. As it is, there is already a problem with which voices are amplified. Limiting this can make it even more difficult, creating a further divide due to our lack of understanding from other points of view.
Net Neutrality is essential in ensuring our freedom online. Taking a stance against net neutrality is taking a stand for censorship and against our right to access information which will only snowball into more significant issues.